Retro Review: X2
Released in 2003 to critical acclaim, X2 continues the story of our mutant friends at Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. When a mutant attempts to assassinate the President of the United States, the X-Men must discover the would-be assassin’s identity, while at the same time coming under attack from the military itself.
X2 is considered one of the best superhero films of all time, and not without reason. Director Bryan Singer took everything that made the first X-Men a success and dialed it up to 11. He made the action bigger and more spectacular while simultaneously making the film more personal. Screenwriter David Hayter deserves just as much credit, introducing new characters to the already crowded film and effortlessly balancing and maintaining them. Every character gets his or her moment to shine, and none of them waste it.
The cast is all but perfect. Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart all completely own their roles, with newcomers Alan Cumming and Brian Cox turning in a couple of the most memorable performances in the entire franchise. It is a joy to watch these characters interact with each other, with a late night camping sequence being especially fun.
Even with all that’s going on, the film pushes Wolverine, arguably the star of the series, to the foreground and gives Logan some real character development. Jackman shows us exactly why Logan is the best there is at what he does, and why Wolverine is one of the most interesting characters in comic books (overexposure be damned).
It is only towards the end where the film starts to falter ever so slightly. The ending drags on a bit, and a tragedy strikes the team that could have easily been avoided with some actual thinking. But even so, the good far outweighs the bad, and X2 is one amazing ride.
Final Verdict: X2 is, without a doubt, one of the best comic book films of all time. The massive cast of characters is handled masterfully by Singer and Hayter, and damn near every member of the cast is pitch perfect. Minute problems with the script pale in comparison to the pure thrill of X2.